Today we introduced our week’s theme on 20th Century toys. I explained that we chose to look at the 20th century as that’s the period when toys changed the most.
We talked about the names we use for ‘chunks’ of time: Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, Years, Decades, Centurys and Millennia.
We noticed that we were at a very unusual point in history because every single child in the school was born in a different century to their teachers. In fact we noticed that the children and teachers actually come from different Millennia too which is a very rare occurrence.
We made a timeline along the length of the hall and marked every 10 years from 1900 to 2000. We then charted when each teacher was born and the decade they grew up in. Now we know which teachers are the experts in which decades.
Our timeline is going to stay in the hall all week and we will be able to add to it as we find things out.
Once we’d had a look at the 20th century on our timeline, it was time to get in our time machine and pretend to travel back in time. The time machine has a time circuit that displays the dates that we travel through and shows us where when we land. Today it took us back to 1911.
It was Christmas day when we landed and we saw the inside of a house on Christmas morning in 1911. There was a cabinet full of toys. They were mainly made of wood. Here’s a list of the toys that we saw:
Wooden Alphabet Blocks
Wooden Toy Train
Cup and Ball
We also saw old photos of children with toy dolls and teddy bears. Teddy bears had only just been invented in 1911!
We agreed that the toys were very basic and understood that only rich children would have had toys that were bought from a shop. Most other children would have made up their own games with basic materials such as sticks, stones and old bobbin reels. Or sometimes they may have been made a toy by someone in their family, like the wooden sword or paper kite.
I then showed everyone what I consider to be one of the most interesting toys of this time; the Zoetrope.
The Zoetrope was invented in the mid nineteenth century, but was still very popular in the early 20th century although mainly reserved for adults use.
An early Milton Bradley Zoetrope Advert
A quick Zoetrope overview (YouTube)
See vintage Zoetrope animations (YouTube)
In Class 6
After the mornings assembly I joined class 6 in making zoetropes out of card along with 12 frame animations to go inside them.
Class 6 children, who would like to make more animations at home, can print out these templates onto A4 paper (please make sure that your printer doesn’t re-scale the image).
We found that drawing the frames on individual pieces of cut-out paper was easier because we could lay each frame over the last and trace it, but making small changes. That way we get a smooth animation.
Once we’ve stuck all our individual frames onto our strip we can then see the pictures move in our zoetropes.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all again tomorrow for a trip to different year!